8.3.2014: SM-Itäralli, Joensuu: Behind the scenes

Tuesday, March 11, 14:07h

Welcome back to my blog, thanks.

Every now and then I try to push my own limits a bit forward. Last weekend was one of those moments…

It´s an open secret that I spend this winter season in Joensuu. That’s why this years’s SM-Itäralli was my home event. Why shouldn’t I do something special when a rally comes to my area?

My very first visit of Joensuu was more or less one year ago. I came here for the same reason and with a mission too. I´m sure you remember. If not, click here to refresh your memory. :-)

What should I do to make this event special to me again?
First of all, my friend Simo Tuunanen (who made me stay in Joensuu this winter) liked what Sporttimobiili did in Rovaniemi: The live streaming of the Arctic Lapland pre-rally press conference. As a member of the organization committee, he asked me to use my connections to get the same service for Itäralli. Back then, Sporttimobiili’s negotiations with AKK were still ongoing and no decisions made about who is going to takes care of the visibility of the Finnish Rally Championship (FRC). Anyway, I brought Simo and Sporttimobili´s producer together and things started to run smoothly… First small step done.

The second step was another new experience: I planned an entire rally in advance.
Usually I like the challenge to go to a rally without knowing what I will see, it keeps my spontaneous. But this time I was a member of a team and I requested special effort from myself to provide the maximum possible.

As a consequence of the second step, the third step was doing the recce.
I remember last year when I asked codrivers for nice 360 panorama locations, they all told me how rollercoaster the stages here are. Therefore I joined Simo and Mika all Friday and highly enjoyed the bumpy and twisty roads.

On Friday evening, I studied the time schedule and the stage map again. The fact that no stage was driven twice led to an ambitious idea: I wanted to see as many stages as possible, including ceremonial start and podium. My intention was my most various gallery ever of a single day event. A lot of driving all day…

And last but not least, I wanted to provide video material to my Sporttimobiili mates then they can embed clips from the stages to their interview shots. Uploading the usable files while driving wasn’t a safe option that´s why we agreed to meet at the trotting track stage to handover the memory card.
This is one of the results… Do you like it?

My plan worked out even, I managed to see ceremonial start, the first sixty cars at SS2 and always twenty to thirty cars at SS3, SS4, SS5, SS6 and SS8 plus the podium.
What a busy day but guess what: I looooooove it. :-D







Sporttimobiili´t videos you find here, that´s my gallery for them and another gallery with different pictures on my own website.

Now the winter (?) rally season is over, a loooooong break until the first gravel event on 14.6. in Lapua is ahead. Your feedback here in this blog or a pressed ‘like’-button on Sporttimobiili´s public facebook site will encourage us to improve continuously.

In this blog, I wrote more than usual about planning so you´d probably like to know my next steps: In these days, I try to fix Simo´s Xsara’s engine. The cylinder head is already removed… I hope I get the engine fixed before I leave to click here. :-D

I´ll keep you updated….

High octane greetings and uf Wiederluege!


P.S. Meanwhile, decisions are made. Sporttimobiili will follow the FRC officially! :-D

Promising future

Wednesday, November 13, 14:07h

Welcome back to my blog, thanks.

You might have noticed that my motorsport season has (almost) come to an end.
There is only one event left for me to go: The AKK gala in Vierumäki on 30.11.
At this annual after season event, the first three of every class and category will be honoured. A great possibility to meet friends, idols, teams and motorsport people, all nicely dressed. This time I have an invitation from Simo Tuunanen to be a member of the Tuunanen Racing Team. Delighted by this offer, I wanted to take pictures of him when he´ll get the trophy for his class win. But I respect his wish that I shall be a team member, not “at work”, just to have fun with friends after a long season. Friends come first and that´s why I denied even a request to take some official pictures for AKK.
I´m sure AKK respects my decision and won´t close the doors for possibly future jobs. We´ll see…

Apart from that, I try to make plans for next year. I have some ideas in which direction I want to go but on the other hand I want to stay spontaneous to see and grab new chances…

One of these new chances was offered by Sporttimobiili after the article about me in Iltalehti. They asked me to try “video blogging” or more modern “vblog”. It took  a while to jump over my own shadow since I´m not used to be on the other side of the camera. But we all grow with the challenges and “to fail” means, we´ve tried at least. :-)

One of Sporttimobiili´s plans for next year´s motorsport season is to support a few young and promising rally drivers with visibility. To cut a long story short: My task is to interview the chosen drivers in English, from a fan for fans.
I´m sure you know what I mean.

Yesterday afternoon was the day, my very first try as a video-reporter, interviewing the fastest girl in Finnish rally at the moment: Laura Suvanto.

During my trip from Jyväskylä to Sporttimobiili´s headquarter in Pasila (Helsinki), I had enough time to develop and refuse hundreds of ideas; with other words, I was damn nervous…

In Pasila, I met head of Sporttimobiili, Panu Mustonen, and producer Matti (Löde) Lötjönen. Immediately I jumped into their car and together we hit the road to Turku. The two hours ride to Laura´s meeting point didn´t calm my nervousitiy at all. Panu and Löde prepared themselves with reading my interview with Laura and meanwhile I got even more nervous…

Warmly welcomed by Laura and her parents, Löde immediately began to set up the interview location. Time for me to do what doesn´t make me nervous: taking pics.

Matti and Laura were sooooo professional, not really a big help to ease my nervousitiy. ;-)

Then it was my turn… Have I mentioned I was nervous? ;-)


Somehow I managed and survived. But will I get a second chance. Who knows?

The interview will be published soon on Sporttimobiili.fi. If you like, check the site the next days. Don´t do it for me but please do it for Laura. :-)

A long day ended at 0:30h, after returning to Helsinki and driving home to Joensuu.
Conclusion: 1040km and 11 hours in a car to be 10 minutes in front of a video camera. But there is a much longer way to learn ahead of me…

Thanks to Sporttimobiili, Laura and her parents.

High octane greetings and uf Wiederluege!



Wednesday, September 18, 14:07h

Welcome back to my blog, thanks.

Again, it took some unexpected extra time to continue my NORF diary. But now my motorhome engine has a new waterpump, I made a few friends happy with my help, visited several motorsport events and made decisions for the near future and next year. Enough non-motorsport-blaablaa, it’s rally time again. :-D

My second part of Friday, August 2 began after nearly two hours of sleep at 6 a.m.
I preferred an amusing evening in Jyväskylä´s night life more than doing nothing (sleeping :-) ). Like on every rally morning, I do my best that keeps Finland as world champion of coffee consumption. My planning departement announced three stages and servicepark for today, sounds easy, let’s go! :-)

At SS7 Jukojärvi it continued like it ended yesterday: Everybody knows the monkey… Nice to see familiar faces everywhere but on the other hand, it’s a strange feeling to know that many eyes don’t focus only on rally cars… After the top twenty cars we left the place to drive 120kms to the Lankamaa stage. These almost 2 hours gave me enough time to save the pictures to my laptop and to upload some nice shots for RalliRadio and Sporttimobiili. I do what I can… ;-)

After all work was done, I enjoyed the ride to Juha Kankkunen’s home soil.

I was curious and excited to go there and do something for the first time in my rally history…
I must admit that when I heard first time what my location manager had planned for this afternoon, I had mixed feelings. But as soon as we had arrived there, my mood got even better. The spot offered a quite long view on the cars at a high speed section, followed by a tight junction, surrounded by typically finnish country side scenery. Nice! But the ice on the cake was a 24 meters high lifting ramp. I have never seen rally action from this angle of view but this was about to change soon… :-) Spectating in a VIP area has a few more benefits, I learned. Plenty of time to be creative with my camera, all the time delicious food and free drinks, enough time for rally chitchat with people who knew me or I got to know and the feeling to be “very important”; rallyheart, what do you want more? I had to think about that…

At some point in the evening, we decided to leave for servicepark. Said and done.
There I wanted to do something I had on my mind for a long time. I got assistance from my multifunctional driver who did the first round of “being creative” while I was looking for Mads Östberg. I found him signing fancards at the official WRC merchandise stand. Surprisingly there was no que at all. My chance! After I told him who I am and thanked him for the dediction on my printed pic, he was really happy to see me. It’s my applause to see his eyes twinkling with delight. Nice! :-D

A short visit at Ford’s service area led to another nice rally chat. A team member remembered me as the guy who took Matti Rantanen’s fancard picture one year ago. He was happy to meet me again and was still full of praise about that night session. I thanked him with showing my goosebumps. :-)

Then it was my turn for  ”being creative”. I felt like an entertainer when I walked around in servicepark carrying a 5.5 meters fishing rod with a mounted GoPro camera on top. It must have looked very funny, this professional photographer (marked by a pink tabard) with his “poor man’s drone” because I’ve heard plenty of funny jokes from many many people. Anyway, the result counts and since nobody else did that, I got exclusive pics.


Today, many people had made me happy and so did I. But the day wasn’t over yet…

Shortly before my 22:00h deadline, I visited Sporttimobiili’s headquarter to bring the pics of the day and get further instructions for tomorrow. Unfortunately they didn’t give me any advice therefor I will continue tomorrow like the days before. Thank you very much, Sporttimobiili, for the total freedom you offer!

It was a highly successful day so far and what’s better then to celebrate that at Jyväskylä’s nightlife? Why aren’t you surprised?

Shortly before midnight I met Rami Saarikorpi in “Hemingway’s”. There he showed me the 360° panoramas he made out of his and my pictures taken previously this afternoon.
I knew I took them but it’s still a magical moment to watch the result first time. Immediately I shared the link on my facebook wall and at the same moment, facebook told me that Michael Heimrich checked in at “Hemingway’s”.
For all those who don’t know him: He’s the editor of the German “Rally – das Magazine” and rallye-magazine.de. He wrote the 4-pages story about me last year…
I have never met him personally before but now was the right time to change that.
I raised from my chair on Hemingway’s terrace and at the very same moment I noticed German words coming from the table behind us. Believe it or not, one of the persons at this table was Michael. Once more, it’s a small world in Finland! So the day ended with a long and interesting chat about my adventure, rally and other petrolhead stuff…

Let’s see if I can repeat today’s success…

High octance greetings and uf Wiederluege!